Paying for big ticket items with a 0 percent credit card from a retailer sounds like a sweet deal. But after the promotion period is over, many consumers could be hit with a very unpleasant surprise: a hefty interest charge.
The average annual interest rate on a store credit card was 23.2 percent in 2014. That's more than 8 percentage points higher than national average for credit cards, according to a survey from credit-card comparison website CreditCards.com.
The interest on many of these store credit lines are deferred, meaning the payments are delayed or postponed.
"The consumer is going to pay that interest at the end of the day. In some instances, they can never get out of it, even if they pay it off quickly," said Sean McQuay, a credit card associate at NerdWallet, which provides online credit-card comparison tools. "The important thing that consumers need to know is the different types of offers."